No less than famed German thinkers Peter Joseph Lenné and Alexander von Humboldt helped to establish the Zoologischer Garten, the first German zoo when it was opened in 1844. Under the direction of first full-time director Dr. Heinrich Bodinus two decades later, the zoo experienced considerable growth: Asian and Middle Eastern-inspired structures such as the Elephant House, Ostrich House, Elephant Gate and the the Japanese Wader House were all erected under Bodinus’ eye and remain defining elements of the location.
Today, the inner-city zoo bang center of the city’s enormous Tiergarten park features animal houses, aquariums and approximately 15,000 animals representing over 1,500 different species—the largest species collection in the world.
Recently, the Zoologischer Garten shot into the spotlight with the birth of Knut in 2006. The world-famous polar bear had been disowned by his mama polar bear, raised by an attendant and, at three-and-a-half months old, even scored his own cover on the March 2007 issue of Vanity Fair Germany, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Today, Knut is among many of the zoo’s attractions, though quite possibly its biggest and cutest money machine.
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